Togadiya detention triggers violence

AHMEDABAD, NOV. 1. About half-a-dozen buses here were set afire by some Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists apparently to protest against the detention of its international general secretary, Dr. Pravin Togadiya, by the Maharashtra Government in Jalgaon on Wednesday.

Some 300 activists had gathered at the income tax circle here ostensibly to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel when the news came about Dr. Togadiya's detention.

The crowd turned violent and started torching the buses. The immediate target was a Maharashtra State Transport Corporation bus passing-by and later the ire fell on the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation buses where the Congress has wrested power from the BJP after a gap of 13 years.

The disturbances, however, died down just as suddenly as it started when information was received about the release of Dr. Togadiya and other workers.

Dr. Togadiya was formerly the Gujarat unit general secretary of the VHP before he was elevated to the international level.

The State Congress has condemned the burning of public property to protest against the arrest of one person and a party spokesperson said it only reflected the ``fascist'' attitude of the VHP and its political mentor, the BJP.

A State Government spokesperson, meanwhile, denied a report that some Muslim shops were burnt in Khedbrahma town of Sabarkantha district, the Assembly constituency of the Pradesh Congress president, Mr. Amarsinh Chaudhary.

The spokesperson said there was only a minor incident of stone throwing between two communities but there was neither any incident of arson nor a communal flare-up as reported in a section of the press.

The situation in both Ahmedabad and Khedbrahma today was peaceful.

Jalgaon bandh peaceful

Our Mumbai Special Correspondent reports:

Most shops in Jalgaon were closed today in response to a `bandh' call given by the VHP and the Bajrang Dal to protest against the detention of Dr. Togadia. No untoward incident took place.

Dr. Togadia on his way to Jalgaon to attend the Sammelan, was detained at Bhusaval and asked to go back and so were other activists of the VHP, in view of the tense situation in Malegaon.

The Maharashtra BJP spokesman, Mr. Atul Bhatkhalkar said his party condemned the ban on the Sammelan and the action against Dr. Togadia.

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